Thursday, October 25, 2007

facing the autumn with grace

The ginkgos are yellow, the serviceberries are orange, the maples are a little dry and crispy leaves are flying everywhere. The unusually nice weather has given me time to do a good job of gathering and 'putting by' my garden's harvest. Not that there isn't a lot more to be done, in putting the yard to bed. You'd think I had forty acres (and a mule) by the way I talk, but it is only a small suburban lot.

I'd love to have some 'real land' (she said in her lumberjack voice) to work with, but I have borrowed views to enjoy, and I know my familiar soil, and it is all already so ever much to do, and the older I get the more I understand that someday it will all have to come to an end. Toward this, ahem, end, I'm severely limiting my plant collecting impulse and consciously not replacing things that I lose. The lost years of the fragrant dianthus collection, the colorful irises, the tropicals and the spring bulbs, the daylilies, the old garden roses, the varieties of daisies and veronicas and achilleas and campanulas and agastaches (I used to get the little catalogue from J.L.Hudson, Seedman, if that tells you anything) and especially the seed starting mania will have to be beautiful memories to entertain my mind when I can't garden any more.
And the herbs. Don't let me forget the herbs.

And the critters. There is such joy in the strangeness of other species of animals. I've seen animals in books and on film, and in 3-d reality in zoos, but there is something above wonderful about seeing mother nature's other children out in the open, living and surviving on their own. (Yes, Marion, Nature does too exist.)

On that note, I was out in the garden yesterday picking more peppers (almost finished for the year) for cooking and freezing and dehydrating when a literal crashing through the brush behind the shed brought me up from my task and there manifested three young deer, standing right there in a clearing among the scrubby shrubs with their bright eyes and huge ears and lovely velvety noses at attention.
I understand it's bow hunting season, and they move in response to the hunters' disturbing of their domain but I've never actually seen a deer in my yard before.
I have seen tracks and found some damage (blueberry), but the rabbits are the real culprits around here with their shrub girdling winter hunger. What a treat though, to see these three deer up close and personal.
They stood as mesmerized as I was for a few moments and took off leaping right back into the field. In one fortunate moment of grace I had collected a memory for the winter, undeserved, appreciated.

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